Friday, September 19, 2014
Brown Ales - The Best Beer Style of Them All
As I sit here sipping this delightful "Old Crafty Hen" Vintage Ale (6.5% ABV) from Greene King/Morland Brewery I am surprised by how much I am enjoying the flavor. Then, I am surprised that I am surprised. Over the years I have consumed thousands of different beers searching for the perfect beer. From face imploding IPA's to fruity Lambics to watery Chinese lagers, I have studiously tried them all. Everything from Coors Light (many hundred) to Westvleteren 12 (once) are tried with equal gusto, hoping to find 'the one' (the Westy 12 comes really close).
The dawning realization that whenever I visit a new brewery or pub with an unfamiliar selection I invariably order (if available) their brown ale. But why? Because it is the test of their competence as brewers. If you can't make a good brown ale it is likely that you are not going to impress me with your other selections. There have been many occasions that upon visiting a new brewery that I have walked away leaving a half empty glass of inferior brown ale and not having tried any of their other offerings.
Why the brown? It's the balance. The yin perfectly matching the yang. The earthy malts and slight sweetness magically balanced by the subtle hops. The alcohol content just strong enough to give you a gently buzz without making you incoherent. Carbonation that is just enough to bring a bit of texture to your tongue but not so much that you belch like a walrus and served at a temperature that is like the baby bear's porridge.
Don't get me wrong, I love a good stout. I adore the crispness of a cold lager after a hot, sweaty day, I crave an intense IPA when consuming a fiery curry. But in the end, the beer of the choice is the brown whether it be a dubbel, a dopple or a nut, just give me the brown. Cheers - Bon